Most cars that look expensive, are expensive. If you have enough money in the bank then buying the car of your dreams is not an issue, right? But if you need to get a car that shows off your status without having to spend an arm or leg for it, the choices are far narrower.
Cheaper cars mostly look cheaper, and it's only a few names out there that look expensive but are pretty affordable. And it is these cars that often do pretty well in the market because they are the complete embodiment of the term value for money. Take your pick from these beauties…
10 The Biggie: Cadillac ATS ($35,000)
Cadillacs are known for having the most stylish cars in the market, without charging the moon and the stars. Affordable luxury vehicles should be Cadillac’s middle name, with the only recent change in their stable being a higher focus on luxury. The Cadillac ATS is a prime example of this, a vehicle that is big, beautiful and a complete stunner. It stands taller and prouder than most of its contemporaries and boasts a powerful engine lineup as well. At just a little over $35,000 for the base model; the Caddy ATS manages to give the best in both performance and comfort, and looks far costlier than its affordable price tag.
9 History Revived: Fiat 124 Spider ($25,000)
The Fiat 124 Spider was originally a Pininfarina-designed sports car launched in the 70s, then dubbed the 124 Sports Spider. Its 2016 model avatar is a convertible built on the Mazda Miata platform and is one nifty little ride. The 1.4-liter inline-4 turbocharged motor is a delight and revs powerfully at 164 horsepower and 184 ft-lb torque; while the body looks classic Italian-sculpted.
The Abarth trim also boasts quad exhausts and a matte black hood and trunk for a sporty look. Frankly, there’s something about the Fiat 124 Spider that makes for a really cool sporty little car, all at the base price tag of less than $25,000.
8 A Perfect Blend: Buick LaCrosse ($30,000)
Buick is another brand that tends to focus on affordability, and of course, reliability. So much so that finding the perfect blend of luxury and affordability was proving elusive for Buick, till they launched the LaCrosse. This full-sized sedan towers over its contemporaries and has the look and feel of a luxury vehicle.
The interiors are tastefully done while the giant Buick logo in front relays a proud heritage. With the base model priced around $30,000, Buick LaCrosse manages to look far more expensive than its grounded reality. Higher trims boast of a 310-horsepower V6 paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission but the standard four-cylinder engine performs adequately as well.
7 Small But Great: Infiniti Q50 ($36,000)
The Infiniti Q50 is a great luxury small car (sedan) and comes equipped with all the amenities that its rivals possess but at a much more economical price. The base model’s powertrain is a 2.0-liter inline-four paired with an automatic transmission that chugs out 200 horsepower. Priced at $36,000+ for the base model, the Q50 may not be dirt cheap; but it is cheaper than many of its equal-powered contemporaries.
It handles well, looks expensive, and is pretty classy on the interiors as well. All in all, it makes for great driving experience, combined with enough status to keep anyone happy.
6 Classic And Unforgettable: Chrysler 300 ($34,000)
The Chrysler 300 is as classic as a full-sized sedan can get. The front fascia is near unmistakable and retains its bullish look to stand out from its rivals. The rather strong lines of this car have aged well, and no one needs the 300 to change or get modernized so much. The base model starts at about $34,000 with a respectable 3.6-liter V6 paired with an automatic transmission and runs smoothly and powerfully. The front grille with the logo, the standard 18-inch wheels, as well as Chrysler-mammoth-size make it look far pricier than its actual cost, as do the premium interiors.
5 Luxury Redefined: Lexus IS ($36,000)
When you think of affordable cars, the Lexus doesn’t come to mind because it is touted as the luxury line of Toyota. That said; as compared to its rivals, the base price of the Lexus IS is pretty low and the car is far more feature-packed. It starts somewhere around $36,000 but it is a steal for this price with the kind of quality they have put in this car.
It is aerodynamical and sleek; comparable to the Audis and BMW of its class. The 2.0-liter inline-four motor is paired with an automatic transmission and jets out 241 horsepower which is adequate for the Lexus IS for one fast-paced yet comfortable ride.
4 Simplified Luxury: Lincoln MKZ ($36,000)
Think Lincoln and everyone thinks luxury. Though the greatness of this brand may have dulled over the years, it can still steal the spotlights from the Audis and Beamers of today. The Lincoln MKZ is so simple and sleep when it comes to design, you know it has to be expensive. The front grill and logo, together with those slanted headlights is an eyeball grabber and once you get inside this plush car, you may just want to stay forever. At $36,000 for the base model, the Lincoln MKZ is a bargain for the kind of luxury and features it offers. The 2.0-liter inline-four manages 188 horsepower with an automatic transmission, enough for a sleekly paced ride.
3 Pricey? Nah: Mercedes-Benz CLA ($33,000)
Frankly, who would even think of a Mercedes-Benz and affordable in the same paragraph, let alone sentence? Mercedes-Benz is what most of us would equate with luxury, and the wealth needed to afford that kind of luxury.
But the Mercedes-Benz CLA class proves otherwise. With a 200-horsepower 2-liter inline-4 motor paired with an automatic transmission, the CLA base trim is priced just around $33,000 – which is surprisingly affordable when you think of all that luxury riding in a beautiful car. The large logo in front with the rather distinctive bumper may look pricey, but now we know is not.
2 The Right Rhythm: Kia Cadenza ($33,000)
Look at the front grille and that’s all you see – a grill, with no logo marring the sleekness. The Kia logo, just the name itself, comes on the hood instead and makes the Cadenza look very different from its contemporaries. The chrome-trimmed bumper has LED light clusters at the bottom to give it a sleeker look, while the long length of the car is enhanced by a crease down the side. The base price is about $33,000 and forget any inline-fours: this beauty comes prepped with a 3.3-liter V6 paired with an automatic transmission that jets out 290 horsepower. The dual exhaust ports give it muscle while the multi-spoke wheels look like a dream on the road.
1 The New Age: Genesis G80 ($42,000)
Launched as the Hyundai Genesis at first, it became so popular the Hyundai made the Genesis a sperate luxury marque within the company. Now it's simply the Genesis G80, a car that can go head to head with the luxury German cars of today and still emerge as the winner. The emblem is a tad Chrysler-like, but the design is more reminiscent of a BMW than anything else. The car's 3.8-liter V6 jets out more than 300 horsepower with automatic transmission and we are talking base trim here. The price range starts at about $42,000 for the base model which is still lesser than its rivals on the market, perhaps because the Genesis isn’t so much in demand in the recent past.